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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ BritainView Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coins of Britain

Before the Roman invasion, Britain was populated by Celtic tribes with well-established cultural and economic links with continental Europe. Although Julius Caesar conducted the first Roman campaign in Britain in 55 B.C., the conquest did not begin until A.D. 43, during the reign of Claudius. The British tribes initially opposed the Roman legions, but by 84 the Romans had decisively conquered southern Britain and had pushed into what is now southern Scotland. In 122 they fortified the northern border with Hadrian's Wall, which spanned what is now Northern England. In 142 Roman forces pushed north again and began construction of the Antonine Wall, but they retreated back to Hadrian's Wall after only twenty years. Following the conquest, native Britons were subject to the Roman governors but mostly kept their land, and a distinctive Romano-British culture emerged. The Roman Empire retained control until its departure about A.D. 430.Romanization of Britain


Anglo-Gallic, Edward III, 1372 - 1377

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This type and similar billon Anglo-Gallic coins looked silver when issued, but after some use turned black, hence their nickname, "black money." They were usually hastily and poorly struck, heavily circulated and worn, and seldom hoarded. Surviving examples are now rare and mostly low grade.
WO86745. Billon denier au leopard, Elias 95 (RR), Duplessy Féodales 1095A, SCBC-SII 8090, Poey d'Avant 2793 (Edward I), Boudeau -, aVF, well centered on a tight flan, uneven strike with parts of legend weak, areas of light corrosion, weight 0.683 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, 2nd type; obverse + EDVARDVS : REX (King Edward), leopard passant left above AnGL' between lines, rosette below, all within inner circle, double pellet stops; reverse + DVX : AQITAnIE (Duke of Aquitaine), cross pattée, within inner circle, double pellet stops; very rare; $250.00 (€212.50)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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S - P flanking across the fields with MC in the exergue (S-P/MC) is not a standard mintmark, most references cited do not list any examples with this mark. RIC V-2 does list one type each for Pax, Pietas, and Salus. MC in the exergue was used at Camulodunum for earlier issues but without S - P. Perhaps the rare specimens with this mintmark were issued in a small quantity for some special purpose. Perhaps the engravers just unintentionally added the M out of habit. Perhaps they are all unofficial. Further study is needed.
RA73505. Billon antoninianus, apparently unpublished, RIC V-2 -, Web Carausius -, SRCV IV -, Hunter IV -, Burton Latimer -, Bicester -, Linchmere -;, VF/F, dark patina, nice portrait, minor patina chipping on edge, top half of reverse mostly weak or off flan, weight 4.334 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 225o, unofficial or Camulodunum (Colchester, England) mint, 292 - 293 A.D.; obverse IMP C CARAVSIVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse PROVID AVGGG (the foresight of the three emperors), Providentia standing left, raising globe in right hand, transverse scepter in left hand, S - P flanking across fields, MC in exergue; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; none of the approximately eighty published Providentia varieties struck under Carausius have this S - P / MC mintmark, no others known to Forum; $240.00 (€204.00)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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In The Reign and Coinage of Carausius, Percy Webb wrote that for Carausius, "...the type Providentia appears with some twenty-four varieties of reverse legend, while the joint effect of obverse and reverse variations of legend and type is to produce upwards of eighty varieties of coins dedicated to that divinity."
RA73501. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 152 (R2) var. (PROVIDENTIA AVGGG), SRCV IV 13697 var. (same), Webb Carausius 178 var. (same), Bourne 33 var. (same), Hunter IV - (p. ccii), aVF/aF, well centered, green patina, near complete legends, nice portrait, corrosion, pit/flaw reverse left field, weight 3.282 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 0o, Londinium (London, England) mint, 292 - 293 A.D.; obverse IMP C CARAVSIVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse PROVIDEN AVGGG (the foresight of the three emperors), Providentia standing left with baton and cornucopia, globe at feet left, S - P across fields, MLXXI in exergue; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection, extremely rare, apparently unpublished, the only specimen known to Forum; $220.00 (€187.00)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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In The Reign and Coinage of Carausius, Percy Webb wrote that for Carausius, "...the type Providentia appears with some twenty-four varieties of reverse legend, while the joint effect of obverse and reverse variations of legend and type is to produce upwards of eighty varieties of coins dedicated to that divinity."
RA73503. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 152 (R2), SRCV IV 13697, Webb Carausius 178, Bourne 33, Askew 183, Hunter IV - (p. ccii), aVF, good portrait, mottled green patina, tight flan, rough, pitting smoothed to remove corrosion, weight 3.526 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 180o, Londinium (London, England) mint, 292 - 293 A.D.; obverse IMP C CARAVSIVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse PROVIDEN AVGGG (the foresight of the three emperors), Providentia standing left with baton and cornucopia, globe at feet left, S - P across fields, MLXXI in exergue; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; rare; $220.00 (€187.00)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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The plural AVGGG refers to Diocletian, Maximian and Carausius in a futile attempt to appease the legitimate mainland rulers.
RA73502. Billon antoninianus, Webb Carausius 192, RIC V-2 164 (S), Hunter IV 52, Cohen VII 325, SRCV IV 13716, Linchmere -, Carausian Hoard -, Burton Latimer -, Bicester -, VF, green patina, marks and scratches, edge crack, slightly off center, weight 2.737 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 180o, Londinium (London, England) mint, c. 292 - early 293; obverse IMP C CARAVSIVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, late reign tetrarchic portrait; reverse SALVS AVGGG (the health of the three emperors), Salus standing right feeding snake, held in her right hand, from a patera in her left hand, S-P flanking across field, MLXXI in exergue; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; scarce; $200.00 (€170.00)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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In The Reign and Coinage of Carausius, Percy Webb wrote that for Carausius, "...the type Providentia appears with some twenty-four varieties of reverse legend, while the joint effect of obverse and reverse variations of legend and type is to produce upwards of eighty varieties of coins dedicated to that divinity."
RA73496. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 364 (S), SRCV IV 13683, Webb Carausius 420, Hunter IV - (p. ccvi), Askew -, Bicester -, Linchmere -, Carausius Hoard -, Burton Latimer -, aVF, well centered, green patina, rough from corrosion, weight 3.096 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 225o, Camulodunum (Colchester, England) mint, 292 - 293 A.D.; obverse IMP C CARAVSIVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, late reign tetrarchic portrait type; reverse PROVID AVGGG (the foresight of the three emperors), Providentia standing half left, staff in right hand grounded between feet and globe on the ground left, cornucopia in left hand, S-P flanking low across field, C in exergue; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; scarce; $190.00 (€161.50)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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In The Reign and Coinage of Carausius, Percy Webb wrote that for Carausius, "...the type Providentia appears with some twenty-four varieties of reverse legend, while the joint effect of obverse and reverse variations of legend and type is to produce upwards of eighty varieties of coins dedicated to that divinity."
RA73262. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 347, SRCV IV 13679, Web Carausius -, Hunter IV - (p. ccvi), Bourne Carausius -, Linchmere -, Burton Latimer -, Bicester -, VF/F, choice obverse - well centered and nice portrait, weak reverse, green patina, light corrosion, weight 3.601 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 180o, Camulodunum (Colchester, England) mint, c. 291 - mid 293; obverse IMP C CARAVSIVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, middle/tetrarchic portrait; reverse PROVID AVG (the foresight of the Emperor), Providentia standing left, grounded staff in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S-P in fields, C in exergue; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; $185.00 (€157.25)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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Hilaritas, the personification of rejoicing, is usually depicted as a matron, standing with a cornucopia in her left hand and a long palm frond on the ground in her right. Green branches were a sign of gladness and for special occasions, both public and private, it was the custom in ancient times to ornament streets, temples, gates, houses, and even entire cities, with branches and leaves of trees. This tradition carries on today in the form of wreaths and Christmas trees.
RA73255. Billon antoninianus, apparently unpublished, cf. RIC V-2 243 (R) (IMP C CARAVSIVS P AVG), Web Carausius 295 (same), SRCV IV -, Hunter IV -, Linchmere -, et al. -, aVF, broad flan, green patina, some legend weak, reverse off center and double struck, weight 4.098 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 180o, Camulodunum (Colchester, England) mint, c. 288 - 291; obverse IMP CARAVSIVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, middle reign portrait type; reverse HILARITAS AVG, Hilaritas standing left, long palm frond in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, C in exergue; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; very rare; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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Although the exergue is off flan, we are confident this coin is from the unmarked mint and the exergue is blank. This long necked portrait variant is unique to the unmarked mint. This type is unpublished in the numerous references we examined but we do know of one other example, Auktionshaus Felzmann auction 156 (28 Jun 2016), lot 287.
RA73273. Billon antoninianus, cf. RIC V-2 470 (S - C / [ ]), Webb Carausius 521 (same), SRCV IV 13628 (same); Hunter IV -, Bourne Carausius -, Linchmere -, VF, green patina, some legend weak, porous, tight flan, some scratches, weight 4.289 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 180o, unmarked mint, c. mid 292 - mid 293; obverse IMP C CARAVSIVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, late reign tetrarchic portrait type, long necked variety; reverse MONETA AVG, Moneta standing left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - P across fields, nothing in exergue; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; extremely rare; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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The quantity of PAX coinage issued by Carausius probably exceeded the entire output of all his other types combined. The type was an appeal by the usurper Carausius for peace with the "official" emperors. Diocletian and Maximian did not recognize Carausius as emperor, nor did they reciprocate his desire for peace.
RA73492. Billon RIC V-2 141 (R), Webb Carausius 164, Bourne Carausius 16, Burton Latimer 22, Hunter IV 51 var. (transverse scepter), SRCV IV -, VF/F, dark green patina, nice portrait, bumps, scratches, weight 4.571 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 180o, Londinium (London, England) mint, c. early 293 - mid 293; obverse IMP C CARAVSIVS P F AVG, radiate and draped bust right, late reign tetrarchic portrait; reverse PAX AVGGG (the peace of the three emperors), Pax standing left, raising olive branch in right hand, long scepter in left hand, S - P across fields, MLXXI in exergue; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; rare; $180.00 (€153.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Allen, D. Catalogue of Celtic Coins in the British Museum. (London, 1987-1990).
Allen, D. The Coins of the Ancient Celts. (Edinburgh, 1980).
Coins of England & the United Kingdom, Standard Catalogue of British Coins. (London, -).
Cottam, E., et al. Ancient British Coins. (Chris Rudd, Norfolk, UK, 2010).
de Jersey, P. Celtic Coinage in Britain. (London, 1996).
de la Tour, H. Atlas de monnaies Gauloises. (Paris, 1892).
Hobbs, R. British Iron Age Coins in the British Museum. (London, 1996).
Nash, D. Coinage in the Celtic World. (London, 1987).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Vol. 1: Europe. (London, 1978).
Sills, J. Gaulish and Early British Gold Coinage. (London, 2003).
Van Arsdell, R. Celtic Coinage of Britain. (London, 1989).


Catalog current as of Friday, July 20, 2018.
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